A megachurch pastor in Southern California known for his mental health advocacy died by suicide on Monday, church officials said in a statement.
Jarrid Wilson had been a pastor with Harvest Christian Fellowship Church for about 18 months. In 2016, he founded Anthem of Hope, a Christian organization meant to “amplify hope” for those struggling with mental health and substance use issues.
Greg Laurie, senior pastor at the Harvest megachurch, described Wilson in a statement as a “vibrant” person, “always serving and helping others.”
“Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people,” Laurie wrote. “We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”
Sunday marked the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week, a weeklong campaign meant to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide and teach people about the resources available for people in crisis.
“Jarrid also repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles,” Laurie said. “He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts.”
He is survived by his wife, Juli, and two young sons, according to Laurie’s post.
On his verified Twitter page, Wilson had posted several times about September as National Suicide Prevention Month. In a post on Monday, he wrote, “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that.”
The last activity on his Twitter account was a retweet of the Anthem of Hope page. The original post contains a 24/7 chat feature and reads: “Lonely? Depressed? Need someone to talk to? … You don’t have to do this alone!”
On her unverified Instagram account, Wilson’s wife wrote he was a “loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt (off) his back husband.”
“No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle,” she wrote. “You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second.”